How to Replace an ABS Controller in Ford Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The Ford car has an anti-lock braking system (ABS) that prevents the brakes from locking during an emergency stop. The ABS controller accomplishes this by reducing the braking force to any wheel that is rotating significantly more slowly than the others. You may need to replace the ABS controller if the ABS warning light comes on. However, it is not necessarily unsafe to drive your vehicle without an ABS.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace an ABS Controller in a Ford F-Series

Determine which ABS controller your Ford F-Series will need. You'll want to be sure the new controller is compatible with your make and model of F-Series. ABS was standard beginning with the 1987 models.

Disconnect the negative battery cable with a socket wrench and remove the air cleaner assembly. Unplug the electrical connector for the ABS controller. Remove the six mounting screws from the ABS controller and disconnect the electrical connector for the hydraulic control unit.

Install the new ABS controller and plug in the electrical connect for the hydraulic control unit. Use a torque wrench to tighten the mounting screws to 27 inch lbs. in the following sequence: upper right, middle left, upper left, middle right, lower right and lower left.

Plug in the electrical connection for the ABS controller and install the air cleaner assembly. Connect the negative battery cable with a socket wrench.

Configure and calibrate the ABS controller using the directions for the scan tool.

Items you will need

  • New ABS controller

  • Scan Tool

  • Socket wrench set

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace an ABS Controller in a Ford Explorer

Determine which ABS controller your Ford Explorer will need. You'll want to be sure the new controller is compatible with your make and model of Explorer. All versions of the Explorer have an ABS.

Position the vehicle on a hoist and place it in neutral. Remove the battery cables and battery tray with a socket wrench. Disconnect the electrical connector for the ABS controller.

Remove the nuts for the brake lines with a socket wrench so you can disconnect them from the hydraulic control unit. Unfasten the nuts that mount the bracket for the hydraulic control unit with a socket wrench and remove the hydraulic control unit from the vehicle. Remove the screws that hold the ABS controller to the hydraulic control unit and separate the two units.

Install the new ABS controller by reversing the above procedure. Use a torque wrench to tighten the nuts that hold a brake line to the hydraulic control unit to 17 feet lbs. Torque the nuts that connect brakes to each other to 13 feet lbs. and the nuts for the brake line brackets to 80 inch lbs. Torque the bolts for the hydraulic control unit brackets to 13 feet lbs.

Bleed the brake system, configure and calibrate the ABS controller using the directions for the scan tool.

Items you will need

  • New ABS controller

  • Scan tool

  • Socket wrench set

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace an ABS Controller in a Ford Taurus

Determine which ABS controller your Ford Taurus will need. You'll want to be sure the new controller is compatible with your make and model of Taurus. All versions of the Taurus have been equipped with ABS since its debut in 1999.

Disconnect the negative battery cable with a socket wrench and remove the battery and battery tray from the vehicle. Take out the retaining bolt for the electrical connector with a socket wrench and detach the electrical connector from the hydraulic control unit.

Label and disconnect the six brake tubes from the hydraulic control unit. Remove the retaining screw from the pump motor with a socket wrench and take out the ground wire from the body of the vehicle.

Remove the three retaining bolts that mount the hydraulic control unit with a socket wrench so you can remove it from the vehicle. Take out the five screws that mount the ABS controller to the hydraulic control unit and separate the two units.

Install the new ABS controller by reversing the removal procedure. Use a torque wrench to tighten the three retaining bolts for the hydraulic control unit to between 20 and 25 feet lbs. Torque the nuts for the brake tubes to between 11 and 17 feet lbs.

Items you will need

  • New ABS controller

  • Socket wrench set

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace an ABS Controller in a Ford Focus

Determine which ABS controller your Ford Focus will need. You'll want to be sure the new controller is compatible with your make and model of Focus. All versions of the Focus have an ABS controller that is integrated into the hydraulic control unit.

Position the vehicle over a hoist. Disconnect the negative battery cable with a socket wrench and detach the electrical connector for the low brake fluid warning indicator.

Remove the reservoir filler cap and raise your vehicle. Remove the front wheels, bleed both front brakes and lower the vehicle. Replace the brake fluid reservoir cap.

Remove the air cleaner and its outlet tube. Disconnect the battery junction box and move it aside. Disconnect the electrical connector for the ABS controller. Disconnect the brake tubes from the hydraulic control unit and the master brake cylinder.

Unplug the electrical harness from the wheelhouse and remove the bolts on the hydraulic control unit with a socket wrench so you can separate the hydraulic control unit from its support bracket.

Install the new hydraulic control unit by reversing the removal steps. Use a torque wrench to tighten the nuts on the brake lines to the master cylinder to 13 ft. lbs. Torque the brake tubes on the hydraulic control unit to 97 in. lbs.

Items you will need

  • New ABS controller

  • Socket wrench set

  • Torque wrench

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.